Assassin’s Creed 2 EP1: The Life and Times of Desmond Miles

By Shamus
on Sep 21, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Sorry for the late start. We planned on launching this series last Tuesday, but Various Things prevented this. You know how it is with Various Things.

For historical purposes, here are the comics I did regarding the original Assassin’s Creed:

Enjoyed this post? Please share!


A Hundred!A Hundred!4204 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?

From the Archives:

  1. Sydney says:

    I’m sure Josh will find some way to break the game such that Boring Future Desmond blows up everybody and escapes into the undesigned void beyond the level boundaries.

  2. Zukhramm says:

    Alright, just give me a couple of minutes to play the first half an hour of the game or so. Since it’s on my pile of games to play anyway, I’ll play it along with you this time.

    • Meredith says:

      That’s a good idea, actually. I’ve played the first hour or so of this game, so now’s a good time to pick it up again.

      I can’t watch the video till I get home, so random comments time: I feel dirty saying this, but I got the feeling the controls would actually be easier on a console than a computer for this one. Altair kept falling off buildings 3/4 of the way up. Once I got into a city and got the hang of free-running, though, I understood why people liked the game so much. Since I’m lost all the time anyway, may as well enjoy it.

      • Factoid says:

        This game absolutely demands to be played with a gamepad. It’s fine on PC as long as you use one of those, though it’s not the greatest port. The 360 version is smoother framerate wise. I assume the PS3 is as well.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I had no problem with mouse and keyboard myself.But then again,I also used to play mortal kombat on keyboard,so Im a bit of an aberration.

          • Raygereio says:

            Yeah, I never really got what the hell the problem was that poeple had with the mouse and keyboard. I certainly never had an issue with it. Just like I didn’t in any of the PoP games. It basically just comes down to what set of controls you’re comfortable with.

            The only times where you might get into real problems with the keyboard/mouse setup is when you get to one of Ubisoft’s Fabulous Fixed Camera Position and the game suddenly demands you move akwardly diagonally. But the autocorrection in the controls helps you through that 9 out of 10 times.

        • Entropy says:

          Yeah, M&K worked fine for me. I did to some fiddling with the key binds, but it worked pretty well.

    • Museli says:

      I also have this in my backlog, this might be a good time to have a stab at it…

  3. noahpocalypse says:

    This oughta be interesting.

  4. Yay, Spoiler Warning! This should be interesting, I’ve only seen bits and pieces of this game

  5. SougoXIII says:

    Yay! Finally a new Spoiler Warning, I’ve been waiting all week for this.
    Not much to talk in the first episode but I wondered how many episode this will take up, the one thing I remembered about Assassin’s Creed 2 is that the story is freaking long. (Not that I’m complaining)

    • Factoid says:

      Yes and no. If you already know your way through the game you can easily burn through this game in under 8 hours. If you do stuff like gather the hidden seals, fix up the city, etc… it can take upwards of 20-30 hours. But story only is not too long.

      I wonder how the crew will handle all the cutscene breaks, though. There’s a LOT of them in this game.

      • Irridium says:

        And Venice feels like it drags on FAR longer than it actually does.

      • Simon Buchan says:

        My steam time on AC2 is 41 hours. But I’m a hopeless completionist. Also, I’m up to 20 hours on the “multiplayer focused”* Brotherhood, and from the upgrade paths, I think I’m between 1/3 and 1/2 of the way through.

        * Really guys? They add a well-recieved, relatively original (it’s deathmatch only in the sense that you will kill people) and lore-friendly multiplayer, on top of a single-player that’s as much improved over AC2 as AC2 was to AC, and you’re complaining that it’s been Call-of-Dutied?

  6. Raygereio says:

    On the tutorial:
    Extremely unhelpfull input prompts seem to be a thing for Ubisoft. Though the only game where I had an actual problem with it was the 2008 Prince of Persia where it made the already craptastic QTE invested combat unplayable.
    Extremely unhelpfull fixed camera angles are another one of Ubisoft’s staples, but I’m sure we’ll got to that soon enough.

    Desmond:
    For me he’s part of a bigger problem: namely Assassin’s Creed’s overarching storyline. The times where the game throws you out of the Animus (and thus the actually fun part of the game) and is trying to sell you this weird, disjointed plot that doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest due to various reason (characters without any characterization and/depth to them beyond some gimmick/stereotype, being obtuse and vague for the sole sake of being obtuse and vague, etc, etc) are the worst moments in all the AC games. Thankfully as the games progressed these moments have gone from long and frequent in AC1 to barely there in AC:B.

    • Ateius says:

      I absolutely agree. Every moment spent with Desmond is one spent cursing whoever at Ubisoft thought this was a good idea and trying to do something, anything to speed up Desmond Time and get back to Awesome Assassin Time. I have yet to do so successfully, and thus continue to be forced to sit through what are, in essence, long, unskippable cutscenes. In which nothing happens.

      The fact that this is my only view into the “framing” plot means I come to loathe it as well, for its only purpose seems to be interrupting my fun.

  7. Mersadeon says:

    I never understood why FutureDesmond doesn’t do something while being held by Abstergo. I mean, okay, you can’t escape, but you can make it hard and annoying for them, thus making it take longer to find the Macguffin. But no, all you can do is steal a pencil and computer passwords to read their mail. Boohoo. I would have formated their computers and trashed some stuff. Sure, they might kill me for that, but hey, at least I wasn’t just some slave that obeyed every command.

    Also, that girl is an Assassin. And she’s badass. Why, during the whole first game, did she NEVER just punch Abstergo evil old scientist stereotype and broke you out? It’s not like she still had to work on it, her escape plan in this game is simply “punch security dudes, get into car, drive away” – not something that needed much preparation, right?

    • Raygereio says:

      Sure, they might kill me for that

      AC1 was a bit weird with that. If I recall right (it’s been a while since I played it); doc Evil says that if Desmon refused to assist then, they would put him in an induced coma, continue their work and leave him to die once they’ve finished with him.

      Okay fine: personally threats to my life would also compel me to do what they want. Especially considering that you only get the idea that it means bad news for the whole worls if doc Evil finds what he’s looking for in your genes at the end of the game.
      However; it’s made clear (not just to the player, but to Desmond as well) just before doc Evil threatens you that they need Desmond conscious and cooperative otherwise they can’t seem to get what they want.
      To me that sounded as doc Evil just demanded I gave him my car because he needs to go somewhere and the only way to get there in time is with my car. He then follows that up with the threat that if I refused he’d destroy my car.
      It just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

      Why, during the whole first game, did she NEVER just punch Abstergo evil old scientist stereotype and broke you out?

      No explanation is ever given and it bugs the hell out of me. All we know is that Lucy was undercover at Abstergo. But she knows the stakes and she knows how screwed up everything is going to be if Desmond helps them find what they’re looking for.
      Something else that didn’t make a lick of sense to me.

      • Factoid says:

        They don’t come right out and say it, but obviously something is up with her character. Her and the assassin’s are hiding something from Desmond.

        The assassins also wanted to know where the apple was hidden, so they had to let it play out until the location was known. Then she could make off with the data and desmond and try to get it first.

      • GiantRaven says:

        I haven’t played the first game, but from what you’re saying it sounds like the Doc was just plain lying to Desmond. He can pull it off, he’s evil.

        • Raygereio says:

          Yeah, he probably is lying. But he’s contradicting himself and actively inviting Desmond (if only he wasn’t such a wuss) to resist; that doesn’t make him very smart.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      If I understood her motives correctly,she too wants to find out where the mcguffin is,so she was basically waiting for abstergo to do her work and find the right dude,before she kidnapped him from them.So she isnt really a nice person,as she pretends to be.

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        Also, as hinted at the begining of the playable part of this game (And as we’ll see later, directly stated by Lucy) Subject 16 had encounters with the Vidic/Lucy combo that had…interesting consequences (Hint: That stuff in the opening scene? It’s *blood*. That one person’s blood. Lots and lots of their blood. Okay, so if it seems like a lot of blood for one person, perhaps it could be the Bleeding Effect allowing him to draw blood from the blood of his ancestors, but that’s diving into Sci-fi.) – what Lucy requires Desmond to do before they leave is test that they can transfer Subject 16‘s encounters to be able to use the data to fast-track Desmond becoming an assassin, and also to assimilate said person’s encounters to find out what Vidic knows about a scenario that Lucy doesn’t, because she wasn’t there. It’s possible that this is why she didn’t help Desmond out earlier – she was looking for these files, (While looping security footage and performing e-mail contact for the Assassin’s.)

        Confused yet? We haven’t even gotten to the end of AC2, where…there’s a scene that implies it could not be accessed correctly/gets accessed differently per person. If it’s neither of the above, then it implies that *this* is how Vidic knew to go after Desmond.

    • zob says:

      Assassins did try to rescue Desmond in the first game before and it failed badly. Lucy’s main mission was interference and recon (sabotaging templar abstergo, slowing down their progress etc.) And she had a great position as a spy, she was underground for 7 years. You don’t waste that kind of effort unless it’s something very important.

      Desmond himself was a wuss. While technically an assassin he was retired and working as a bartender. They don’t treat him bad, they don’t torture him. His life wasn’t in imminent danger. Frankly I don’t think being a wuss is a bad thing in those conditions.

      • Raygereio says:

        Assassins did try to rescue Desmond in the first game before and it failed badly.

        Wait, wut? Where was this stated?

        • zob says:

          after killing Majd Addin guy in jerusalem it is said that they were coming. and after killing Robert de Sable they actually attack the facility

          also i looked up for desmond. he was trained in an assassin school till 16 then he escapes. that might explain his wussiness further. this one is from first talk with lucy.

          • Raygereio says:

            Were we told this happened by someone during one of the desmond section in AC1? Because I think I would have remembered it if we actually saw this.

            Regardless: that does satisfy things for me somewhat. I guess AC2’s escape was Lucy’s plan B.

            • zob says:

              yeah all those things happen in boring desmond parts :) during assassin attack old guy have a telephone conversation with a guard we hear gunshots in the background.

            • Alexander The 1st says:

              We hear the Assassin’s attack after Robert de Sable – I think what zob is mentioning about “said” they were coming was from Lucy’s e-mails (You can read Lucy’s, Vidic’s, and…Alan Riddick‘s e-mails in post-game if you haven’t read them, but they unlock during the sequences – you “go to the bedroom” and then walk back out and access the computers when you can, and check Lucy’s and Vidic’s e-mails once you can get in.).

              More specifically, if you look in Lucy’s Deleted Items folder, IIRC, you can find some coded spam (The code is in the capped letters of the e-mail, of which the text evades me, but it decodes to “WE WILL BE THERE SOON”, IIRC.) – some of her other e-mails sent/deleted, IIRC, help you piece together what’s happening.

              As for the mention of the assassin’s attack, this was one of the flaws of the original game – no subtitles. They obviously fixed it in 2, but if you were playing in a social environment (So, at our school, for example, we had a games room where multiple consoles were – when I played it there, I missed the Malik/Altair dialogue, some of the better character banter I’ve heard – once I heard it at home, alone.).

          • Vect says:

            The background for Desmond was kinda weird. I remember that it just said that he lived in some underground Assassin encampment. I’m not sure how much training he got, but apparently he got somewhere between Wimp-Lo style training or Jack and Shit. He pretty much just said ” I don’t know anything ’bout running on rooftops and shanking kidneys”.

        • Zekiel says:

          It was pretty obvious (not a cutscene, but reported by the doctor and Lucy)… but then it would be quite understandable if you didn’t register it since all the scenes with them were dull to the point of painfulness.

        • littlefinger says:

          look here This includes AC 1 endgame spoilers, after this timestamp is relatively safe, before however … it basically shows the fight for the final boss in the game. So yeah.

          Also, I have to say I like the voice acting by the evil scientist in that particular scene.

          • TGN says:

            It’s also worth noting that the Desmond part of the Assassin’s Creed series takes place over quite a short time period. He was captured on September 2nd 2012, and the first game ends on September 8th with the sequel beginning almost immediately afterwards. The attack Vidic mentions in that video was presumably a distraction to help Lucy break Desmond out, but she would need a few days to arrange it.

            Even by the end of Brotherhood we’re only into October, with the series building up towards a catastrophe that is supposed to occur on December 21, 2012.

            • Zekiel says:

              It’s pretty dumb, but I’d never noticed that the Desmond bits of AC were supposed to take place in 2012… given that the original game was released in 2008 wouldn’t it have made sense for them to set it a bit further into the future? Any ideas why they chose a date so soon?

              Or have I utterly missed something and the whole thing is supposed to be set in an alternate universe?

  8. NonEuclideanCat says:

    Is it just me, or is the game audio a lot louder than it has been in previous seasons? There were moments where I could barely hear the commentary.

    • Rayen says:

      huh… i had the complete opposite problem, i couldn’t hear anything of the game sound effects, dialogue, nothing. If none of them were talking no sound was coming from my computer.

  9. Dnaloiram says:

    I actually have played the DS version of this game.

    I don’t even know where to start.

  10. Rayen says:

    never finished assassin’s creed one because when more than 5 guards showed up (gaurunteed after assissination 4 if you weren’t holding the blend button at all times and moving at the speed of smell) my computer would throw a big fit and if the game didn’t crash immediately the graphics would run so out of sync with either my button presses or the sounds that were being made i coiuldn’t defend myself and would watch helplessly as i was sliced and diced while what-his-face flailed like an idiot at all the wrong times.

    So thats where i’m coming from. If i ever get a PS3 i’ll try these games again and maybe i’ll be able to get through them.

  11. Raygereio says:

    Edit: I made this reply in responce to a post that seems to be moderated away. So nevermind.

  12. Reet says:

    Quick note on mister british dude’s voice, I’m almost certain that it’s wheatley from portal 2, I noticed it when my friend was playing brotherhood and I told him and he thought so too.
    Also, Yay Spoiler Warning! I said it earlier but I think this game is rather a curious choice all things considered. It’s just that there isn’t really a great track record with non-RPGs on this show. Although I suppose the main issue with those last bioshock episodes didn’t have much to do with it not being an RPG. Here’s hoping all goes well!

  13. Hitch says:

    “Josh Viel: Worst Assassin Ever?” I’ve seen Rutskarn’s Hitman videos. That’s a tall order to live up to.

    When you were discussing who the generic British guy sounds like and trying to decide if you recognized him from somewhere, all I could think of was the GEICO Gecko.

    It’ll be interesting for me to watch this series. I’ve never played the game and know very little about it. That was also true of Bioshock, but this time I can actually see the game.

  14. X2-Eliah says:

    Ah, cool, it’s starting. Heh. Still haven’t played any of the Assassin’s Creed games – and tbh, kinda undecided, I wouldn’t mind picking them up, but, well, Skyrim’s coming and I’m not sure if the games are actually any good in the first place…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      They are good,just dont play them on the pc.Or,if you do,remove the drm first.

    • Eärlindor says:

      Yeah, overall, fantastic games, but I would recommend the console versions over PC, if you are able.

      The first one had an interesting gameplay idea, but it was extremely repetitive. On one last note for game 1, as contrived as it might have been, the segments with Desmond were what kept me going, because I wanted to find out as much as possible about what was going on with Abstergo and all that.
      Anyway, moving on…
      The AC series is one of those odd occurrences where gameplay continues to improve with each new title (though there are still hiccups of course). But all games also have one of those strange stories where you’re not quite sure where it’s going until it gets there.

      My vote: definitely worth checking out at some point in the future. :)

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ahh,asscreed 2.Well,desmond does have an ark,though like Josh said,it spans over 3 games.So by the end of game 6,he will be almost a person,which is nice.Maybe you shouldve started with 1 though,because its shorter and less problematic.Still,looking forward to watching this one,and looking forward to you missing the cutscene qtes.

  16. MG says:

    I DEMAND YOU ALLOW MY COMMENTS TO BE POSTED, AND RECREATE MY LAST ONE FROM MEMORY

  17. GiantRaven says:

    One thing bugged me about Desmond. Is his lazy eye intentional?

  18. Drexer says:

    Well, nice to see the show back. :)

    I’ll save the commentaries on the overachign Desmond plot once Josh gets all the bits of the conspiracy-puzzle(you are getting them, right Josh? Even if out-of-camera).

    Nothing special happened yet, but nice to see that you guys are all warmed up for the ensuing carnage and madness. :)

  19. Nyctef says:

    Desmond DOES have an arc, it’s just spread really thinly over at least four games so far. There’s been hints that a significant part of Revelations will be dealing with how Brotherhood ended for him.

    Edit: Also, the intro felt really long this time :S

    Anyway, enough complaining, yay spoiler warning o/

  20. Nick Bell says:

    At the end of the episode, you talked about Brotherhood being multiplayer-focused. Its MARKETING was multiplayer focused, which led to lots of confusion. But it is still a complete single player game. The main story was similar in length and scope as AC2, and the side mission stuff is actually expanded quite nicely. This is a rare case where adding multiplayer INCREASED the total value, rather than sacrificing single player for it.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      Wait, it had a single-player at all? I mean.. I haven’t played the AC games, but from what newsblurbs/articles about it I’ve read, I thought it was solely a multiplayer game.. You mean, it’s actually as much of an SP as AC2?

      Daaaaamn….

  21. noahpocalypse says:

    No credits? Sure, you did them at the beginning, it just feels weird. No ending bloopers; all at the beginning.

  22. scowdich says:

    I was a little disappointed that the crew didn’t comment on how absolutely MASSIVE Lucy’s mouth is. She looks like a carp.

  23. Mathias says:

    I was simultaneously anticipating and dreading the day you guys would play this, since this is one of my favorite (if not my favorite) games ever.

    I’d post a bit of gushing, but I just got home from swimming practice, my head isn’t straight yet.

  24. Eärlindor says:

    The Assassin’s Creed series has always held a special place in my heart because of the excellent (I think) blend of history and science fiction. All these people you meet in the games were real; every building, every event (excluding the AC story itself which is artistic license). Take the character in ACII for instance: Ezio Auditore, real dude. The Auditore family were actual bankers who were friends with House Medici (we shall meet these guys in this game), a powerful family during Renaissance Italy. Ezio was your typical spoiled brat, but records of him cease during his teenage years. Just dropped off the grid, no idea what ever happened to him. I guess Ubisoft thought this would be a great place to write an assassin story.

    For Rutskarn: (I’ll try to paraphrase this as best I can) The games center around a secret war between the Templars and the Assassins who have been at each others throats since virtually the Dawn of Man. Both sides wish for peace but have very different opinions on how it should be reached (shocking right?). The Templars wish to bring the entire human race to its knees, forcing peace and universal thinking on everyone. The Assassins believe in free will. Both sides are fighting over artifacts known as Pieces of Eden which possess extraordinary power over the human body, with one of its abilities being the domination of human will. In the first game, the Templars hope to extract the location of a Piece of Eden known as the Apple (haha) and the locations of other Pieces. They want to launch a satellite with a PoE built in which will give them the ability to use mind control on a global scale.

    The first game centers around the Third Crusade and the mini-war between the Knights Templar and the Assassins–an actual conflict during this time, the assassin order was an Islamic group called the Hashashin.
    While not my favorite AC game, it’s my favorite setting.
    From AC2 on, the games have moved to incorporate just about every major conspiracy in the book. With the Renaissance setting, the church, and everything else, it’s now more like Dan Brown meets… something else I can’t think of…

    I think I got everything in there, it’s a vast, complicated story and plot.
    Anyway, yeah. I understand what the SW team is saying about Desmond, but, man, I love these games.

    • acronix says:

      “Dan Brown meets actual research“, maybe?

      Not that everything in this game is 100% correct, mind, but at least they don`t seem to pretend it to be so.

      • Wtrmute says:

        Only partially in the case of the Order of the Temple and the Hashashin. But, hey, we need a villain, right? And there might be trouble if Ubisoft used societies which are still existing today, like the Hospitallers.

        But I think that anyone who understands what the Hashashin were about and how they operated (basically Medieval Al-Qaeda) would find it laughable that they could be the “pro-free will” faction in some kind of ancient struggle. It would be more likely for the Templars (who were formed with a charter to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land from attack) to be the good guys, but “Templar’s Creed” ought not to have the same panache

        • Eärlindor says:

          But I think that anyone who understands what the Hashashin were about and how they operated (basically Medieval Al-Qaeda) would find it laughable that they could be the “pro-free will” faction in some kind of ancient struggle.

          Haha, yes this is very true. Though IIRC, the Assassins being idealists really didn’t spring up until AC2? I guess it’s kinda there in the first game, but definitely more so in game 2.

      • Eärlindor says:

        “Dan Brown meets actual research”, maybe?

        That works. XD
        Okay, little more serious: when I mentioned Dan Brown, I was thinking of the conspiracies in his books.

        Not that everything in this game is 100% correct, mind, but at least they don`t seem to pretend it to be so.

        Of course. Artistic license. :) I believe one of the game’s themes is “history is written by the winners” or something along those lines. That’s how they justify their story.

      • Sumanai says:

        For those who don’t get acronix’ comment:

        Dan Brown claimed in the book “The Da Vinci Code” that the events in the book were fictional, but everything else was fact. Which, to put it kindly, wasn’t quite true. There are websites with lists of how many things he got wrong. And it’s difficult to attribute at least some of those to anything but complete lack of research.

        Note that there might be changes in the newer printings that adjust the claim.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      The Templars wish to bring the entire human race to its knees, forcing peace and universal thinking on everyone. The Assassins believe in free will.

      Ffs. Why are we again playing on behalf of the good guys, then? Why can’t a game ever be about your character being one of the ‘bad’ side?

      • littlefinger says:

        Evil Genius, Dungeon Keeper, Overlord, KOTOR, Syndicate, Vice City, Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen want to have a word with you.

        Start running.

        • X2-Eliah says:

          Hmmmm, Vice city, okay, that’s a point I would accept. Haven’t played the other games, but, okay, I stand corrected :) Thank you.

          • Eärlindor says:

            I will say that the Assassin’s, by game 2, really are painted in a more idealistic light, though they also seem to be trying (trying, mind you) to keep the moral ambiguity as well.

            Dialogue from AC2:

            Desmond: Nice to be fighting with the good guys for once.

            Shaun: We’re not the “good guys,” we’re assassins. We assassinate people.

            Not complete verbatim, but that’s basically how the scene plays out.

            • Alexander The 1st says:

              “Are you a vegan assassin, Desmond? You’d be the first, you know.”

              EDIT: Wait, I think the line was “Are you a vegan, Desmond?, you’d be the first assassin in history to be one, you know.” My bad.

          • littlefinger says:

            Well, LoK: Blood Omen is basically a typical ’97 top down hack’n slash adventure game where you simply fight everyone who is hostile to you, and the end gives you a binary choice: sacrifice yourself and save the world, or choose to become its vampiric overlord, dooming it in the process.

            Here’s the interesting part: the sequels assume you chose to doom the world. How many games have been made where they assume the player chose the evil option in the prequel?

    • Eärlindor says:

      I knew I forgot something. I wanted to explain the Animus a little. The idea (which I think Josh et all may have explained to you a little already) is that ancestral memories are buried in our DNA. The Animus (which Jung is either loving or hating in his grave right now) allows you to access said memories, basically.
      Here’s the point I wanted to get to: prolonged usage of the Animus leads to what is known as “The Bleeding Effect,” where ancestral memories start to merge with real-time memories. It gets to the point where the victim can no longer distinguish between his reality and his ancestors’ past lives. Basically, you start seeing things until you go insane. Desmond is “Subject 17.” Subject 16 lost his mind and wrote in the “memory blood” of his ancestors all over the walls and floors, which Desmond starts to see at the end of the first game. As the games progress, Desmond succumbs more and more to the Bleeding Effect.
      In game 2, the Assassins want to take a gamble and use the Effect to train Desmond in the ways of the Assassin in a matter of days instead of years. Crazy stuff.

    • Jon Ericson says:

      I’ve never played these games either, but I can’t help but wonder why someone thought to wrap them in the weird future time-travel/memory-whatzit story line. Does it really help explain what’s going on in the main game or is it some sort of padding? Seems to me that if you’re interested in the idea of playing a medieval assassin, you won’t care about the sci-fi fluff and visa-versa. Am I missing something?

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well it provides with some interesting gameplay decisions,like an explanation for why you respawn after death,why your health goes up,why everyone speaks english,etc.It also gives you a bigger overarching story,though that one doesnt pick up until much later,but it has its perks.You can care for both the historical and scifi parts of the game.I know I do.

        • Eärlindor says:

          Yes, there is an overarching story, definitely. I would also add to that by saying it allows one to toy around with some Jungian concepts, as well as, to quote Game Overthinker, dealing with issues of legacy and historical perception. “History is written by the winners.” “Secrets of the Past.” Countless conspiracies. Then of course, the sci-fi elements and the history. Lots of tangential learning to be had here, as well as other themes. Good stuff.

          • Alexander The 1st says:

            There’s also the analogue to the idea of blending realities – if you’ve ever heard a story about “Person X committed a violent school massacure because he played video games to the point that he [The ones I’ve heard of have ALWAYS been a he] couldn’t tell the difference between killing in game and killing in real life. We should ban violent games so that people don’t commit crimes”, it’s a distortion of this theory.

            Assassin’s Creed takes the identity crisis approach and turns it into its narrative – and plays with it a bit.

      • guy says:

        I think the main point is giving an excuse to play a bunch of different assassians while still having an overarching story.

  25. Why does everyone in the future wear blue jeans and a gray top? Is this a uniform?

  26. Jon Ericson says:

    Thanks for linking back to Stolen Pixels. But I started clicking next as soon as I finished each comic and got totally distracted. The “Awesome’d” series was really good. You have a talent for dialog and I wish you’d do some more Stolen Pixels. (“Feed me!”, says the guy who already gets tons of free entertainment at the expense of your family.)

  27. Paul Spooner says:

    My brother got this game on the PS3 and I played through the first quarter or so. The climbing and jumping off of stuff was the most fun for me. I never really found a character I could identify with though. I just found none of the characters had any history or goals I liked. I’m probably outside the target demographic. And yes, my brother is kind of… well targeted.

  28. Otters34 says:

    I’d never defend this game as being actually good, but one thing that would be helpful to note is the fact that it’s available DRM-free on Onlive.

    But yeah, nominal protagonist is written with the effect of being bland and nowhere near as cool as the usual audience for this kind of series would want, and just wait until you get to the attempts at moral ambiguity! Though I confess I’m biased, as I despised most of the people the game tried to tell me were Totally Wonderful and Free Spirits. Especially the way they portrayed Machiavelli.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      Onlive.. Hehehhehehehehehe – isn’t it exactly like Ubi’s constant-internet-pinging drm except with not even having the game on your system and sending way more data over the network?

      Hehehehe.. no drm… heh.

      • peter says:

        onlive has advantages though, from what i read it allows you to play on just about any system, as long as your connection’s fast enough. i haven’t used it myself though, so wouldn’t know how effective it is.

        it’d be really interesting to see stuff like it advance, i’d love for a solution like that where i can use one of my main computers as a server, and say a netbook as a fat client.

      • guy says:

        From what I gather, the reason you need a constant internet connection is that the game is actually running on the servers. So while it acts as DRM, there is actually a benifit to using it.

  29. guy says:

    I must say, that ending was a pretty epic burn. I am impressed.

  30. Shinan says:

    The final line made me chuckle.

    “Good job, guys”

  31. SleepingDragon says:

    Yeah, that whole “move your legs,” “move your arms,” “press any button to use the eagle vision in a way that you’re never going to use it again” thing… I think they were trying to make this section more interactive, for whatever reason. I mean, it doesn’t really serve as a tutorial, you have nothing to gain or loose by “playing it right” or not, I don’t think you can even loose at this point even if you mess as much of it as you can on purpose…

  32. Jarenth says:

    BABY PUNCH.

    That’s all I have to say about this episode. Baby punch.

  33. ps238principal says:

    In regards to Rutskarn’s comment on newborn babies: “Serial Killer Potatoes” would make a great name for a rock band.

  34. Aanok says:

    I wouldn´t even know where to begin to say how AWFUL the Italian language is rendered in this game. Pronunciation, grammar, syntax, constructs…

    It´s just… macaroni… macaroni everywhere.

  35. Destrustor says:

    Shamus’ title in red over a reddish-brown background: totally unreadable if you happen to live in a low-rez environment. What was it?
    Also “SWEET, I CAN PUNCH HER!” : ah, that’s our Josh! We love you, you maniac.

  36. burningdragoon says:

    I actually have liked Desmond less and less as the series has gone on. Not that I ‘liked’ him in Screed1, but I just accepted him as just some guy that is there so I can play as the cool people. And then they started giving him a bigger role in the actual story and I was like “No. No. I don’t care about Desmond’s story, he’s a douchebag. Let me play as more cool assassins in cool locations.”

  37. Oh come on! You KNOW why Desmond has the personality of a rice cake! It’s more obvious than to why he’s a 20 something white guy. He’s the ‘blank avatar’ with which the simple minded majority of the players who purchased this game can easily project a personality onto. Hell, he’s not even intended to BE a character. He’s a story device used to ease the audience into the various worlds I’m certain the franchise was originally intended to encompass. An anchor to one time/ place where people can keep get their bearings between games…a ‘hub’ psyche if you will. Having a strong personality might actually be detrimental as it would risk becoming too distracting from the main character in the game…and he is NOT the main character.

    • Shamus says:

      “This guy is boring and I don’t care about him.”

      “Well.. he’s… He’s DESIGNED that way. On purpose.”

      “Okay then?”

      Saying he’s dull on purpose does nothing to undercut the point that he is, in fact, dull.

      • Shamus says:

        Thinking about this more:

        If they REALLY wanted him to be an empty vessel, then they should have made him a silent protagonist. He’s not really an empty vessel, here. He’s small and boring and whiny and uninteresting. That’s not a blank slate. He has a personality. It just sucks.

        • “Saying he’s dull on purpose does nothing to undercut the point that he is, in fact, dull.”

          Making the point that he is, in fact, dull is akin to pointing out the sky is blue. Exploring why might actually accomplish something.

          “If they REALLY wanted him to be an empty vessel, then they should have made him a silent protagonist.”

          And how would you get that to work within the context of the game?

          • JPH says:

            They could have easily made it work with just a little re-writing. As SW already pointed out, Desmund isn’t the driving force in the story, and he doesn’t really show initiative on his own. He doesn’t choose to leave Aperture; Lucy chooses to take him out. He’s like Gordon Freeman, except he’s a whiny bitch.

          • Shamus says:

            “Making the point that he is, in fact, dull is akin to pointing out the sky is blue. Exploring why might actually accomplish something.”

            You’re demanding that we’re not allowed to talk about his failings as a character unless we properly enumerate the reasons? What exactly are you hoping we will “accomplish”? This is a show where we have an unrehersed conversation about a game. If the developers need more specific feedback at some point they can feel free to email me. :)

            By “why”, do you mean “why did they make him dull” or “why is he dull”? I think we’ve covered both.

            Why did they make him dull? Mumbles gave some reasons. You gave a few more. I think it was simple lack of imagination.

            Why is he dull? Like I said – He’s passive, whiny, and incredibly thick.

            Your outrage in your original post is really strange and misplaced.

            • It’s not outrage, it’s frustration…though I suppose the two can be indistinguishable if your dramatic enough and I am nothing if not a drama queen. Point is, there was an opportunity for a dialogue, examination, for some form of dynamic to be introduced to the discussion that never happened cause you guys wanted to be smug instead and parrot the same thing over and over again. Some six or seven seasons into this show, it’s become a schtick and I’m bored of it.

              “Why did they make him dull? Mumbles gave some reasons. You gave a few more. I think it was simple lack of imagination.”

              All I heard discussed was why he was white and 20 something and even that wasn’t really expanded upon. Also, if it was a lack of imagination, how come you found Ezio so interesting as you noted? Imagination’s not something you can ‘use up’ on one character and then have none left for another. It doesn’t work like that.

              • Destrustor says:

                Well, to be fair, the aim of SW is not “deep, engaging analysis of the psyche and motivation of the characters of this game, in a serious and thought-provoking yet entertaining tone, with the ultimate goal of pushing viewers in a state of reflexion from which their understanding of the plot will grow and mature”, it’s more along the lines of “Lol let’s break this game with stupid amounts of stupid violence”.
                So the “schtick” of SW is basically the whole intent of it. Most people seem to be just fine with that.

              • Shamus says:

                “Some six or seven seasons into this show, it’s become a schtick and I’m bored of it.”

                I guess you might think that, if you ignored all of the other serious things we’ve said in the past and in this episode so you can pretend our criticism is somehow invalid.

                Having said that, if you’re bored with the show you’re probably better off looking elsewhere than coming in here and DEMANDING that we… do… something… different, in a non-specific way.

                The show is what it is. An un-rehearsed conversation. Jokes. Commentary. Trolling. Analysis. Bitching. Anecdotes.

                • “I guess you might think that, if you ignored all of the other serious things we’ve said in the past and in this episode so you can pretend our criticism is somehow invalid.”

                  I’m not saying you don’t hit on something worth listening to every once in a while, obviously I wouldn’t still be watching if that weren’t the case. But the snarkiness – which comes off as childish and self-serving to begin with – is beginning to drown out those moments.

                  But as you say, the show is what it is and I understand that. Hence frustration rather than outrage.

          • burningdragoon says:

            Obviously you couldn’t just flip a switch and turn off all his dialogue and have it work, but you could design at least the first game pretty easily and have it work with a silent protagonist. Make it so any of the exposition that originally came from Desmond and Evil Doctor guy (Vidic was his name I think?) could be something that Desmond can overhear, much like that one time that you can eavsedrop near the beginning. Have Vidic be more forceful and with getting Dessy into the Animus and you really don’t need him to say anything.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yes,he is the main character.The alien addressed him specifically,he is “the only one that can save the world”.

      Furthermore,you can have a blank avatar that is not bland.Case in point:The nameless one.

      Also,just because he was intended to be blanky mcblanky blank doesnt mean it was a good decision,since its the environment,gameplay,altair and ezio that made the game that popular,and not desmond.

    • Indy says:

      Desmond is a pretty good example of a bad character. Desmond is an unwilling protagonist in the first game, he is forced to go back in time. But for someone so unwilling, he has no resilience, no friction. Desmond does as he is asked to help people who he knows are bad. Desmond spends the game on his back, and when he stands, he can’t even walk at a normal speed. He is given a magic power that you thought was a gaming abstraction and then… HE GOES TO BED.

      In the second game, Desmond is invincible, as demonstrated in this Spoiler Warning. He gets beaten up while Lucy does all the work. When he gets out, he finds two people that don’t like him and work way harder than him. Later in the game, he gets a cool wristwatch that kills people and begins killing a lot of people in a big room. At this point, it’s too late to get attached. He ends this game as a blood-covered psycopath (or would if blood splattered in this game).

      He’s dull because he doesn’t do anything and when he FINALLY does, it’s way over the top. If he was involved, he wouldn’t be dull.

      But Ubisoft didn’t think this would work. They wanted to focus on Altair and Ezio. If Desmond started to change, he would need a whole story and as a character description, “modern white guy” doesn’t sound anywhere near as good as “Crusade-era, redemption-seeking assassin” or “Renaissance playboy out for revenge”.

      Desmond is not an interesting character. Interesting characters have at least three positive traits and one powerful weakness. Dull is not a strong weakness. If Desmond was a nicotine addict (or worse) and he was suffering worsening withdrawls, he’d be an interesting character.

      • Eärlindor says:

        If Desmond started to change, he would need a whole story and as a character description, “modern white guy” doesn’t sound anywhere near as good as “Crusade-era, redemption-seeking assassin” or “Renaissance playboy out for revenge”.

        Even better: for Revelations, Ubisoft has made it sound like Desmond will spend the majority of of the game in a coma. Well wait, there will be segments where Desmond explores his unconscious… Bah, whatever, same thing, no real change.

  38. Rosseloh says:

    For me, Brotherhood wasn’t “half a game”. And I haven’t touched the multiplayer.

    I guess I just enjoy the free-roam so much that my story mode run in Brotherhood took nearly as long as my run of AC2.

  39. LadyTL says:

    I tried playing it but since I’m in the SCA and am a history geek I never got past the whole Ezio has a popped collar thing. I keep staring at it wondering why a Jersey american italian is doing in renaissance Italy.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      You can justify all of the quirks by this not being the real renaissance italy,but a computer rendering of a memory stored in desmonds genes.Its a great way to fuel your suspension of disbelief.

  40. Darthricardo says:

    What? No “Reggio Cuftbertizzi?”
    That’s just shameful.

  41. Epsilon Naught says:

    Assassin’s Creed is one of the few franchises that makes me happy about the state of the industry. AC2 and Brotherhood are both story-focused, action-adventure games (whatever Brotherhood was marketed as) that launched within a couple of weeks of that year’s CoD and still sold really well. Although by forcing the game-a-year schedule and sticking to Ezio I feel like they are limiting their possibilities a bit.

    And I really like the Desmond storyline, especially as of Brotherhood. In AC1, Altair’s storyline was just “go kill this guy we just introduced” and AC2 was only a little better (again, Brotherhood did this better by focusing so much on the Borgias). With Desmond we had a pretty neat mystery sci-fi thing happening with a small number of characters. Desmond was terminally boring for the first two games, but I don’t feel it hurt it that much.

  42. Vect says:

    So since we’re complaining about Desmond, are we obligated to say that Nolan North is the virus infecting video game voice acting or something around that nature?

    I’m being sarcastic of course, but I would assume that any complaints about Desmond would involve Nolan North in some way.

    Also, once we get to Rodrigo Borgia, do we get to make jokes about Jeremy Irons and Eragon/the Dungeons and Dragons movie?

  43. Indy says:

    I dislike the dialogue “translation” in the Animus. Why doesn’t it work? Is it a glitch with the Animus? They swap between English and Italian for no reason. Gracie (thankyou), Bene (good), Ciao (bye). These words have direct translations, so why don’t they. I understand that cities and names aren’t translated, they are Italian names. This didn’t seem so obnoxious with the Arabic in the first game.

    • Mincecraft says:

      It’s actually explained at one point, in that the animus translation software is a bit crap.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yup,rebecca says that at one point.I love the animus because it can explain practically any inconsistencies that you find during the game,which is a nice touch because having a perfect software working for so long would be an immersion breaker for me.This way,it feels more real.

        • burningdragoon says:

          So basically the Animus could be called the Lampshader 3000.

        • Alexander The 1st says:

          It’d be interesting if they did some “bug-fixing” mid-game in AC3 – you start off with really random glitches, then as you continue on, the memories become clearer and less glitchy.

          And of course, the final sequence has to have the code-base revert back to the begining. Just because someone accidentally reverted the code (Perhaps Vidic does it on site when they invade?)

    • decius says:

      I figured that the translated phrases were the ones where Ezio thought about the meaning of the sentence, while the untranslated ones were the phrases that had less of a semantic meaning: Greetings, goodbyes, invectives, and the like.

  44. Otters34 says:

    The ‘Punch-Flail’ style Desmond uses is in fact pretty much precisely how barehanded Ezio fights. Which is just bizarre seeing as Europe has a pretty long history of(unarmed even!)martial arts under its belt, and the son of a nobleman in Italy would probably look for any edge in a fight. Especially given the fact that Mr. Auditore the Eldest presumably has a boatload of enemies due to him being a wealthy banker.

  45. anaphysik says:

    @Rutskarn: der Mond does indeed mean moon auf Deutsch.

    • anaphysik says:

      [And I don’t have permission to edit my post flrbleglarble*&#(*(#! ]
      EDIT:
      However, I fail to see how this diminishes the humour entrained in ‘Dickmond.’ Nor the superior ‘Dickmondius’ for that matter.

  46. Alex the Too Old says:

    The opening music is absolutely BANGIN’ – how has nobody else commented on this?! Spoiler Warning has made me a fan of Kevin MacLeod. If I could buy albums of his that had the music used in the SWs from Bioware onward and similar stuff, I would.

  47. Grampy_Bone says:

    Desmond does have an arc: at the beginning of the game he is clumsy and inept, by the end he is a killing machine. BAM! Development.

    His development is purposefully spread across the games, with only incremental changes in each episode. Slow and unsatisfying maybe, but not non-existent.

    Also: Desmond was based off of a Spanish-Canadian model. He is a little darker complexion than standard “Whitey mcEveryman.” His ancestry (that we are aware of) contains French, Arab, and Italian. I’d say that makes him a very ethnic protagonist.

  48. cavalier says:

    I just love how Shaun spends five minutes telling you how busy he is. I’m hoping he gets killed later.

  49. […] long after I started playing Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood I watched this video, where the Spoiler Warning team (who it seems I’ve not linked to before) began […]

  50. […] But it just didn’t bother me as much as the ending to the first game, which was comparatively less audacious and more grounded in reality. In fact, I think that’s the key word there: reality. AC1 actually upset me more because it took itself so seriously — it was clinical and cynical, while the sequel — as the Spoiler Warning crew have determined — is a hilariously over-the-top mess. […]

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] long after I started playing Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood I watched this video, where the Spoiler Warning team (who it seems I’ve not linked to before) began […]

  2. […] But it just didn’t bother me as much as the ending to the first game, which was comparatively less audacious and more grounded in reality. In fact, I think that’s the key word there: reality. AC1 actually upset me more because it took itself so seriously — it was clinical and cynical, while the sequel — as the Spoiler Warning crew have determined — is a hilariously over-the-top mess. […]

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>